Sharjah: The president of the International Publishers Association has said her new book’s sales will be furthered to libraries and cultural and educational institutions in Gaza, Palestine.
Shaikha Bodour Al Qasimi, who is also founder and CEO of the UAE-based Kalimat Group, announced that proceeds from her latest work in children’s literature, ‘World Book Capital, will be provided to libraries and institutions in Gaza.
The announcement came on her social media account @bodour. This is the latest step the IPA President has taken to advance her support for libraries and educational institutions worldwide. The support is vital to the Gaza strip where several libraries and cultural entities have suffered severe damage following recent events.
Al Qasimi launched ‘World Book Capital’ at the ongoing 12th Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF), during an interactive session where she performed a reading of the book for SCRF’s young visitors. In addition to illustrations by Denise Damanti, Al Qasimi’s creative work introduces young generations to UNESCO’s World Book Capital, a global initiative that grants this title to a different city each year. Consequently, the book offers children the opportunity to explore the cities that won the title since the initiative’s inception in 2001. Sharjah was World Book Capital 2019.
The book has been published in both Arabic and English by Kalimat Publishing, part of Kalimat Group that specialises in Arabic books for children and the youth.
Keeping children safe
Also at SCRF, the Child Safety Department (CSD), an affiliate of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Sharjah (SCFA), organised an educational workshop, in cooperation with the Sharjah Prevention and Safety Authority (SPSA), on the basics of home safety and accident prevention.
Children of all ages participated in the workshop, which was presented by Muna Lardhi, Training Specialist, SPSA. Lardhi asked a number of questions which the young attendees answered, showing they had knowledge on key safety measures and knew about the general risks they could face. A first aid kit was part of Lardhi’s presentation, in which she offered a detailed introduction to the kit’s contents and their various uses. She also taught children about other safety gear like fire extinguishers.
Power of illustrations
Meanwhile, prominent children’s book illustrators offered insights into the potential of illustrations in enhancing children’s enjoyment and understanding of stories, and its evolution to the digital format. They were speaking at a panel discussion titled ‘Digital Illustrations’ hosted at the Al Safa Art and Design Library in Dubai as part of the expanded cultural outreach agenda of the 12th edition of SCRF.
The session hosted Matt Lamothe, a US-based illustrator and author, and self-taught Emirati digital artist Aysha Al Hemrani, and was moderated by Emirati poet Shaikha Al Mutairi.
Keeping it cultural
Speaking at the session, Al Hemrani, illustrator of Two Great Leaders – penned by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai – said: “I specialised in this field to present characters for my fellow Emiratis that look like us in their countenance, costumes, habits, and traditions. We are used to seeing interesting characters in Japanese Manga and other comics, and although they are beautiful, they do not look like us.”
Digital vs traditional
In response to a question on the differences between the traditional and digital illustration approaches, Lamothe said: “The difference lies primarily in the evolution process. I respect the style of the traditional approach; their significance and value cannot be underestimated. I was a champion of this school until I moved to the digital format which has since helped me save money, time and effort.”